A BRAVE youngster from Knaresborough has conquered her fear of water and has just achieved a prestigious scuba diving qualification.
Lauren Robinson,11, who is a pupil at Goldsborough Primary School and lives with mum and dad, Chris and Michelle has just returned from a week in Majorca where she completed her PADI Open Water qualification on her eleventh birthday.
Proud dad, Chris takes up the story. “This was a major achievement for Lauren because at just five years old she accidentally fell into the deep end of a hotel swimming pool and had to be rescued. Luckily, she wasn’t harmed in the incident but it gave her a very strong fear of water and swimming. Lauren worked very hard to overcome her fears, finally learning to swim and obtaining a Blue Peter badge aged eight for her perseverance and bravery.
“Last October, Lauren’s mum saw an advert for scuba “try dive” sessions run by Overland & Underwater in Harrogate. Lauren and I decided to give it a try and enjoyed it so much that we decided that we would try for the full PADI Open Water Qualification with Overland and Underwater. This requires six weeks of study with a final written exam, a number of pool diving sessions and finally, four open water dives to gain the final qualification. To even start the course Lauren had to be able to swim eight lengths of the pool and tread water for ten minutes, which at that time she could not do.
“Lauren not only got her swimming skills to the required level but passed her exam with a score of 97% and completed all of her pool dives in November last year aged just ten.
“Overland and Underwater explained that It is not advisable for children under the age of 12 to dive in the cold UK waters so we took the option of doing our open water dives in Majorca. This meant that Lauren had to wait six months until the sea was warm enough. She carried out four dives from a dive boat to pass with flying colours. She even added a fifth dive for fun, diving over ten metres down through an underwater archway.
“We are really proud of her because she has overcome a lot of fears and obstacles to get the qualification, but has stuck at it and she can now dive at any PADI centre in the world. She is already planning her next dive trip!”